Alex Cora: Chris Sale healthy but 'his stuff wasn't there' Opening Day

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NBC Sports Boston Staff
Chris Sale is coming off a rough Opening Day outing, surrendering seven runs and only making it through three innings against the Seattle Mariners. Despite speculation, Sale is healthy according to Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora.
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Alex Cora: Chris Sale healthy but 'his stuff wasn't there' Opening Day originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com

Ahead of the Boston Red Sox' second game against the Seattle Mariners, Alex Cora was questioned once again about Chris Sale's health.

Sale had a rough start to his season, pitching just three innings and allowing seven runs in the team's Opening Day loss to the Mariners. Cora has insisted that Sale is healthy and that he just had a bad game.

"His stuff wasn't there," said Cora, "His slider wasn't good, the fastball was erratic, and the changeup was OK. I talked to him, he's healthy, obviously he knows a little more about his health than me."

Sale's health has come into question after he struggled with shoulder inflammation during the second half of the season. He ended up on the disabled list (now, the injured list) a couple of different times in August with the ailment.

Part of the reason that concern was raised was because Sale's fastball velocity was down. His fastball average of 92.9 mph was the third-lowest average of his career since 2017, per Jason Mastrodonato of The Boston Herald. Still, Cora wasn't concerned and stated that his health was the most important thing at the moment.

"The most important thing is that he's healthy," said Cora. "I know everybody worries about it, and when you don't see the 98, 99, people are going to ask questions. . . When I was the bench coach in Houston, a lot of people were saying he was throwing 98-99 from the get-go and he ran out of bullets in October. So which one would you take: him throwing 99 in March and April or him pitching in the World Series?"

Cora has a good point there, and it's possible that Sale could see an uptick in velocity as he gets further into the season. It would certainly be better to see him hitting his peak later in the season than on Opening Day.

Sale's next performance will likely shed more light on things. But for now, Sale is saying he's healthy and Cora is chalking up his poor opener to a bad night. And Cora knows that Sale will do what he can to fix things moving forward.

"Talking to Chris, he understands where he's at and what he needs to do," said Cora. "He's going to be fine. From my end, healthy. That's the most important thing."

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